Roving Bandits? The Geographical Evolution of African Armed Conflicts

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Date: Sept. 2015
From: International Studies Quarterly(Vol. 59, Issue 3)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 277 words

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Abstract :

Byline: Kyle Beardsley, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Nigel Lo The fighting in some civil wars primarily takes place in a few stable locations, while the fighting in others moves substantially. We posit that rebel groups that do not primarily fight for a specific ethnic group, that receive outside military assistance, or that have relatively weak fighting capacity tend to fight in inconsistent locations. We develop new measures of conflict zone movement to test our hypotheses, based on shifts in the conflict polygons derived from the new Georeferenced Event Dataset (GED) developed by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). Our empirical results provide support for the suggested mechanisms. We find that groups which lack strong ethnic ties and sufficient military strength to compete with government forces in conventional warfare fight in more varied locations. These findings improve our understandings of and expectations for variations in the humanitarian footprint of armed conflicts, the interdependencies between rebel groups and local populations, and the dilemmas faced by government counterinsurgency efforts. Article Note: Previous versions of this article were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association and seminars at the Universities of Essex, Leeds, and Virginia. We thank the participants, and in particular Graeme Davies, Edward Newman, Sara Polo, Andrea Ruggeri, Todd Sechser, Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl, and Nils Weidmann, for helpful comments and suggestions, as well as the editors of the journal and the anonymous reviewers. Gleditsch is grateful for support from the Research Council of Norway (213535/F10) and the European Research Council (313373). [Corrections added after initial online publication on March 15, 2015: The caption and in-text citation for the left panel of Figure [(a) SPLM/A] has been changed.]

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A427486716